From UK's The Guardian. The author is somewhat deluded (or dishonest, as Richard Dawkins claims) to defend the case for theology, but she rightfully quotes Thomas Paine who called this 'subject' "the study of nothing".
Theology is a crucial academic subject
It's failing to make a case for its survival as university cuts bite. But theology's value as an academic discipline is incalculable
Friday 13 August
Bangor University has announced that its school of theology and religious studies will close in 2013, merging with the theology department at the University of Wales Trinity Saint David in a cost-cutting exercise.
With university budget cuts of £200m planned, the loss of the department is unlikely to be an isolated case. At the University of Birmingham's school of philosophy, theology and religion, one of the largest in the UK, up to a third of staff are facing redundancy, while the University of Sheffield's biblical studies department was also threatened with closure last year. Universities are under pressure to make immediate and drastic savings, and theology seems to be failing to make the case for its survival as a discipline worth studying.
Many will argue that if anything is going to be cut, theology departments are a pretty obvious target. Theology doesn't cure cancer, build skyscrapers or even produce books that anyone in their right mind would want to read. Thomas Paine said that theology "is the study of nothing", while science fiction writer Robert A Heinlein, in a memorable metaphor, likened it to "searching in a dark cellar at midnight for a black cat that isn't there".
Anyone who has grappled with the torturous passages of Thomas Aquinas's Summa Theologica will certainly have some sympathy for this position, and Aquinas's musings on such obscurities as whether a mouse or a dog that eats a consecrated Eucharistic host receives the body of Christ, are certainly not a great argument for the continued public funding of theological education.